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Ford dampens expectations for its first self-driving cars

As any early adopter will tell you, the first iteration of a product tends to be pretty limited, and it takes a couple of generations to get things right.

Apparently, this doesn’t just apply to phones: Jim Hackett, the chief executive officer of Ford has revealed that the company’s first self-driving cars – due in 2021 – won’t be quite the magical future we might have hoped for.

We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Hackett said at a Detroit Economic Club even, reported by Bloomberg. “its applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex.”

Related: Everything you need to know about driverless cars

Which isn’t to say that Hackett has become a pessimist about the autonomous vehicle’s long-term potential. “When we break through, it will change the way your toothpaste is delivered,” he said. “Logistics and ride structures and cities all get redesigned.”

At 63, however, Hackett doesn’t expect to be working at the time of this seismic change: “I won’t be in charge of Ford when this is going on, but I see it clearly.”

Ford’s plans in the driverless car space are certainly ambitious, and the company will have invested some $4 billion in the dream by 2023. You can get a full idea of Ford’s plans from this Medium post by Sherif Marakby, CEO of the company’s autonomous vehicle division.   

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Given that post is six-months-old and Hackett’s reflections are fresh, you may think that the company is less confident in its product that it was, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. “When we bring this thing to market, it’s going to be really powerful,” Hackett stated.

Are you optimistic for our driverless future? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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